Dominant Giants Team Named Franchise’s Best In Super Bowl Era

Phil Simms/Eli Manning

@Sportscenter Twitter CBSsports.com had 4 Super Bowl-winning teams to choose from when they recently chose the best Giants team in the Super Bowl Era. It clearly would come down to a team featuring Eli Manning or Phil Simms.

One last time, are there any guesses? Well, it’s time to find out.

The New York Giants‘ best team of the Super Bowl era has been identified in Bryan DeArdo’s CBSsports.com piece naming the best team from each franchise. The selected team won the Super Bowl and also took out a classic conference rival as well as a division rival in the playoffs. If you guessed the 1986 team, you’d be correct. Coming off two straight playoff appearances that culminated with losses in the divisional round, the ’86 Giants team was poised to take the next step. The team featured a number of Hall of Famers, including Harry Carson, Lawrence Taylor, and head coach Bill Parcells, in his fourth season at the helm.

The team began its season with a heartbreaking loss to the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium, before recording five consecutive victories. Following another defeat, this time to the Seattle Seahawks, the team never looked back. Ripping off nine straight wins to end the season, the Giants finished perfect at home with a 14-2 record that clinched best in the NFC. In the divisional round, Big Blue demolished the rival San Francisco 49ers 49-3 in their third consecutive playoff meeting. After shutting out Washington in the conference championship game, the team traveled to Los Angeles to play the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI. That, of course, became the Phil Simms show, but so much more.

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Phil Simms, in his eighth year in the NFL, played a near-perfect game, completing 22 of 25 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns. The defense, meanwhile, intercepted Broncos quarterback John Elway three times. The unit, spearheaded by that season’s Defensive Player of the Year in Lawrence Taylor, featured four Pro Bowlers in total, with Jim Burt, Leonard Marshall and Harry Carson also featured. The Giants recorded their first Super Bowl title that season, taking out the Broncos 39-20, with Simms taking home MVP honors. The Giants outscored the opposition a whopping 105-23 that postseason, cementing themselves as one of the greatest teams of all time.


The Giants-49ers Rivalry

The Giants are mentioned prominently in other parts of the article, as the franchise’s storied history has pitted them against some of the all-time great teams as well. CBS Sports identified the 1989 San Francisco 49ers as the best in that franchise’s history, but that team had some history with the Giants as well. While they played at Candlestick Park that season, with the Niners prevailing 34-24, it was the 1990 season that featured another classic chapter of the rivalry.

The Niners won the Super Bowl in 1989, their second consecutive crown, and headed into 1990 seeking a third consecutive Super Bowl. The teams faced off once again in the NFC Championship Game, this time in San Francisco. With two supreme defenses on the field, only one touchdown was scored, but the Giants prevailed, 15-13 behind five field goals from Matt Bahr.  The game was etched in NFL lore thanks to announcer Pat Summerall‘s proclamation that “there will be no three-peat” as Bahr’s fifth and decisive field goal went through the uprights.

Ex-Giant Falls Short In USFL Title Game

Former Giants quarterback Case Cookus led the Philadelphia Stars to the USFL title game but suffered a gruesome injury as his team fell short. The 26-year-old suffered a broken bone in his leg late in the game and was unable to continue. He finished the game 17 of 29 for 222 yards and three touchdowns. The Birmingham Stallions won the inaugural USFL championship match, 33-30.

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